I had a gift certificate for the Cracker Barrel, so Jaimie and I went for lunch yesterday. It’s weird going to a Cracker Barrel in the place where you live. It’s like I want to have lunch and feel like I’m in the middle of an 8 hour road trip. I know, let’s go to Cracker Barrel!
We had spent the afternoon walking around Travelers Rest, SC. TR, for those who don’t know, is a fifteen minute drive from downtown Greenville. If you had told me as a teenager that I would be 39 years old walking around TR, I would have assumed that something would have gone terribly wrong. Travelers Rest was where the rednecks lived. Now granted I grew up seven miles from there, but we in Taylors, SC were far more sophisticated than the denizens of TR. Never mind the fact that my high school that was named after a confederate war hero, TR was the country and therefore deserving of our scorn. I mean even the name was weird. Travelers Rest? Like where are people going if they’ve chosen to stop here.
Today, though, TR is beautiful. At the edge of the Swamp Rabbit trail that connects downtown TR to downtown Greenville. It’s a bicyclers paradise. There’s a lovely view of Paris Mountain, and Main Street is full of breweries and creperies and baristas and all the other things white people like.
We walked around for a few minutes and found a swing overlooking the trail. As we rocked back and forth, an old couple walked by and looked at us. I saw her mouth the word “cute” to herself as she smiled and walked on by.
And we were. In that moment, we were painfully cute.
We had been pretty cute on January 1st of this past year as well. Jaimie and I spent a couple of days at Brasstown, a little resort in the North Georgia Mountains. Our first night there we spent a long time in the outside hot tub. The steam rising up from the bubbling water, our heads the only thing above the surface. We talked about our past, our future, our plans for the upcoming year. I talked about shows I wanted to write and classes I wanted to teach. Who would have ever believed that those conversations would be moot points in a matter of weeks? Who would have ever believed that in two months I’d be rushed into surgery. Who would have ever believed that in four months I’d be starting chemotherapy, or in seven months I would move back home, or that in nine months I’d be sitting on that swing in Travelers Rest.
This past week, I’ve become very aware of the lack of control I have over life. To watch Irma make landfall and an earthquake rock Mexico. Two weeks ago, life on the island of Barbuda was totally normal and now it’s 95% destroyed. How do we even get up and go about our lives when the world is so utterly unpredictable?
I’m faced with two choices: I can either run for cover or enjoy the ride.
I wish I could say that cancer has made me fearless and free and I face the chaos head on with power and positivity. I mean, I guess I do sometimes, but I still worry about little things and I still sweat the small stuff. While maybe cancer hasn’t led me to live my life to the fullest every second of every day, but swinging on that swing was pretty magical. And we were really freaking cute. As is Travelers Rest.
Who would have ever believed it?